Through my own experiences, along with friends, clients and workshoppers, I’m constantly reminded that relationship is truly “the great teacher”. I’m reminded that relationships can either be a portal into our spiritual growth where we are motivated to be the best versions of ourselves, or they can be a torture chamber of neediness, withdrawal, shaming, blaming, judgment and finger pointing…
We cannot escape our relationship lessons simply by ignoring them, because when we ignore them they just keep hitting us in the face until we either have to look at them or leave… but the same lessons will continue to show up… because they are our soul lessons!… and are inescapable!
I have been reflecting on my own lessons I’ve learned the hard (and pleasurable) way and feel inspired to share, as I feel that they apply to all relationships in one way or another.
16 Keys for healthy, juicy and authentic relationships
As Warriors of Love we need to:
- Accept others as they are right now and not try to turn them into who we want them to be. We will either be able to move forward in this acceptance and be happy with who they are, or we will realise that this is not the person we want to be with. Either way, we are no longer a victim.
- Be willing to feel our pain and discover what it is showing us rather than trying to get the other person to fix it or change.
- Focus on how WE can grow and evolve rather than how the other person should grow and evolve.
- Have discussions that need to happen when there is not a big emotional storm. Sharing your emotions just to vent, defend and make the other wrong is not healthy. Sharing our emotions in the “I” (that is, not finger pointing) can be very healthy as we are inviting another into our world and into our perspective. What they choose to do with that is up to them, so it is good not to be attached to the outcome.
- Set healthy boundaries rather than putting up with behaviour that is not loving.
- Take care of our own problems rather than wanting someone else to take care of theirs or assume the role of care-taking or therapising other people’s problems. As Byron Katie says, “there are only three kinds of business in the universe: yours, another’s, and God’s. Stick to your business.”
- Focus on removing the barriers you have against love rather than controlling how someone is behaving. You know you have a barrier when you have an energy of creating separation and withholding your love. Barriers are usually related to childhood wounds (often around abandonment or not having room to breathe). Work on clearing these wounds. To find out more about barriers and how to clear them, see our Song of Tantra e-book.
- Let go of the expectation that a healthy loving relationship is easy. When love is present, everything that is not love shows up to be healed and sometimes this can be extremely difficult.
- Realise that relationships provide us with the maximum opportunity for soul growth and as such will stretch us and challenge us like any true spiritual path or discipline.
- Work through the temptation of becoming co-dependent (a way of thinking that makes others responsible for your emotional well-being) and choose to come into your own. If we choose to come into our own, this is the place from which relationships can flourish.
- Face your own fears, your own issues, your own shadows, your own wounds instead of pointing out someone else’s. Until you face your own ‘shit’, your communication will be filled with judgment, attack, defense and blame.
- Ask what the feeling is that you want to feel if someone does x, y or z and invoke that feeling in your own body rather than depending on someone else for it. It is the feeling that you want, not the action and that feeling is inside you—it’s available at any time.
- Stop expecting perfection: “a thing of beauty is never perfect.”
- Do more of these things together: dancing, spending time in nature, worshipping each others bodies, cooking, listening to or playing music, bathing, making love, ritual… and less of this: talking from the mind. Get into the body and out of the mind!
- Get to know, love, honour and enjoy being with yourself. If you don’t enjoy your own company and nurture yourself, then how can anyone else?
- Take time away from your relationship when you need it. Space to come into your own, seek support, spend time with friends, have some fun and work through your stuff is key.
I know that when I am stuck in the place of feeling like my relationship is failing, shifting the focus from what is going wrong to my soul lessons is key. In past relationships, I’ve had moments of feeling hopeless and sometimes thought I’d never be at peace in relationship.
Now I am consistently at peace (even when the shit hits the fan) because my peace depends on me remembering and discovering the lessons I need to learn, not on anyone else. My peace is also deeply rooted in my daily self-practice and connection to Divine—it’s my root, my anchor, my wisdom.
If you do not already see Relationship as a great teacher in your life, hopefully you do now!
Here’s a practical video about dealing with conflict in healthy, productive and expansive way.